Texas A&M (13-9) at Georgia (11-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) -- Athens, Georgia. Television: CSS. Home Record: Texas A&M 12-2, UGA 10-2. Away Record: Texas A&M 1-4, UGA 1-5. Neutral Record: Texas A&M 0-3, UGA 0-3. Conference Record: Texas A&M 4-5, UGA 5-4. Series Record: Georgia leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Both the Texas A&M Aggies and the Georgia Bulldogs will attempt to build momentum off wins from earlier in the week, as the SEC foes clash at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday night.
Texas A&M had been reeling with five consecutive losses before busting loose with a convincing 72-52 win over Mississippi State at home on Wednesday night. The victory allowed the Aggies to improve to 13-9 this season and 4-5 in the SEC, but they are just 1-4 on the road (1-7 away from home when including neutral-court bouts).
Georgia also snapped out of a losing streak in its most recent matchup, winning for the first time in four games by handling LSU on Thursday, 91-78. The Bulldogs are 11-10 on the campaign, including 5-4 in league play, and the vast majority of their success has come at Stegeman Coliseum (10-2).
The teams met for the first time during the 2012-13 campaign, with Georgia taking down both meetings.
The Aggies were engaged in a back-and-forth contest with Mississippi State earlier in the week before they ripped off a 20-2 run early in the second half to pull away. They finished the contest shooting 50.9 percent from the field while scoring 22 points off of 17 MSU turnovers, all of which helped mask a dreadful 8-of-17 performance at the free-throw line. Jamal Jones was the spark plug with 20 points and seven rebounds, shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Kourtney Roberson and Shawn Smith netted 14 and 10 points, respectively, while Alex Caruso dished out 10 assists.
Texas A&M typically struggles offensively, as it shoots 43.3 percent from the field for just 65.6 ppg, but it has remained competitive thanks to an outstanding scoring defense (62.7 ppg), which ranks second in the SEC behind only Florida. It also forces 1.9 more turnovers per game than it commits, but its weaknesses include poor showings from the free-throw line (.639), beyond the arc (.314) and in the rebounding battle (-2.1). Jones is the only player to score in double digits on a nightly basis with 11.8 ppg, although that productions comes on just 37.2 percent field goal shooting. Roberson (9.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg) acts as an anchor in the paint and Caruso (8.3, 4.6 apg) runs an effective point with nearly a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Bulldogs took control of their most recent contest early by building a 13- point halftime lead, and while that advantage dwindled to just three in the second half, they never coughed up the lead thanks to red-hot field-goal shooting night (.600). They were also busy at the free-throw line, outscoring LSU at the stripe by a 32-15 margin. Nemanja Djurisic was nearly perfect off the bench, shooting 4-of-5 from the field and 7-of-7 at the line for 17 points. Charles Mann netted 16 points, Marcus Thornton tallied a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Morris rounded out the balanced attack with 11 points.
As its mediocre record this season would indicate, Georgia has failed to stand out on either end of the floor, scoring 70.3 ppg while yielding 69.3 ppg. Its stellar rebounding margin (+5.2) allows it a few extra possessions per game, but it only drains 4.5 3-pointers per game at a 33.8 percent clip and owns a -2.3 turnover margin. Mann paces the modest offense with 13.7 ppg on 42.5 percent from the field, while handing out 3.0 apg. Kenny Gaines (11.7 ppg), Djurisic (10.5 ppg) and Morris (9.5 ppg) are also regular contributors.
In a battle between two of the SEC's more inconsistent teams, homecourt advantage looms large, meaning Georgia will more than likely find a way to prevail down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 67, Texas A&M 65
02/08 10:27:47 ET